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Sunday, December 13, 2015

The part the fits

I recently had an issue that may demonstrate something for small business. A manufacturer told me over the phone, that they no longer made parts for a unit they built over 20 years ago. They went on to tell me the current design included a part that could be used in the older system. In fact, while it was an “improved” part, it would be a direct replacement. On that basis, I was able to purchase the “improved” part and arranged to have a qualified mechanic replace the older part. The mechanic, however, was not as familiar as he needed to be. The new part required a slightly different attach method, and after almost four hours he was able to remove the older part but failed to be able to replace it with the “improved” part. In the end the “improved” part did not come with an explanation, manual, or directions reflecting any difference in the method of attachment. I had the old part put back with a slight change to improve its functionality. The manufacturer refunded the purchase price of the “improved” part. I had to pay the mechanic.


There are a number of lessons here I think:


New Parts can be designed to replace old parts, so the customer is not left without a solution.

When new parts are used, instructions should be provided as well.

This manufacturer stood behind his products for a long time.

Should the manufacturer offered to pay for the mechanic as well?



Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor




Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mobile Website's growing impact


Mobile websites continue to become more and more important for driving company sales.


Need some verification?

From Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday (Nov. 30), nearly half of Walmart’s online orders were placed through mobile devices—doubling the retailer’s mobile transactions from the same period a year earlier.

You can read the article on this trend at Quartz, a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy. 


Customers who view mobile website browsers tend to be purchasers while consumers who browse desktop websites tend to be browsers.


Keeping your mobile website up to date and looking fresh can be more important than keeping your desktop website up to date and fresh.



Tom Hyman, SCORE Counselor


How old is old?

In preparation for retirement, over 15 years ago (I retired young) my wife and I sold our house and either sold or gave away everything in it. We did not need much going forward and had another place to live. Among the items we gave away to one of my sons was an electric lawn mower, I used for at least 5 years. Now at least 20 years after purchasing it my son told me one of the things he did over one recent weekend was: “Lawn mow with your electric mower...getting old but still works. Had to fix a bunch of times over the yrs.” Wow, was I surprised!


How long do your products last?



Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ethics and your business


Your business can suffer from perceived unethical behavior on your part, or that of an employee. It does not have to be real or illegal to hurt your business. Some of the illegal things are bait-and-switch, harassment, discrimination for various reasons or employee intimidation. Unfulfilled verbal agreements can be illegal, but even if they are not, the word spreads and your business can suffer.


So what do you do to minimize these issues? You develop a detailed business guide and be sure all employees and associates get it. You live by it yourself as well.


Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor